I was wondering about the different theories Atheists have about how our Universe came to be, what happened before the big bang? Or did that even happen? Obviously a theist generally believes God made everything happen, what are your thoughts?

Tags: Universe, bang, beliefs, big, god

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I, for one, am very wary of the concept of "belief." I think it is far more rational to "accept as a working hypothesis" than to "believe" in the vast majority of cases (though not all).

The only time I really can "believe" is when reliable evidence is so overwhelming that it is clear that to not accept it is irrational. Even then, belief, to be rational, has to be provisional - accepting the proviso that further information may disprove the hypothesis. For example, Einstein provided new information that proved Newton to be largely correct, but with exceptions. And now the same has happened with general relativity as a result of the investigation of quantum mechanics. Yet we still largely accept Newtonian mechanics, Einsteinian relativity, and quantum mechanical theory. All of them contribute a great deal to our modern world.

So, do I accept - believe in - evolution, but with provisions? Yes. Clearly, evolution explains the evidence vastly better than any competing hypothesis, and explains it with sufficient completeness that it is irrational not to "believe." But there are aspects of it that may prove to be incorrect? Yes, of course, in the details, the same as has happened in Newtonian mechanics and the rest.

The question, of course, is whether the followers of that ancient Semitic sky god have anything useful to contribute to the discussion. So far, I haven't seen them come up with anything I would consider particularly interesting. So, on application of Occam's shaving instrument, I am throwing out the ancient Semitic sky god and going with Darwin and his numerous successors.

With regards to whether any other gods exist, ancient Semitic sky god or otherwise, I haven't come across any compelling reason to accept any of them or any other "God of the Gaps." Indeed, the gaps are getting so very small these days, there is precious little room left. I would suggest that the trend that has been in place since the beginning of the Enlightenment has been clear - material explanations explain the data far better than any god hypthesis yet invented, and this is increasingly so with every passing day - that I cannot see a rational reason to "believe" in anything other than a material explanation.

There is no proof for the material explanation. But the evidence is overwhelming, just as it now is for evolution by means of natural selection. And that increases daily, so even though the "curve may be asymptotic," I would suggest that the direction it points is now quite clear - There ain't no ancient Semitic sky god. Greek mountain god. Egyptian death god. or Mayan rain god. So I "believe" in the material explanation and have adopted atheism as my "belief" system. And I think I am not being irrational in doing so at this juncture.
I accept that I don't know and will never know and that is fine with me. There is plenty here in this planet to keep me occupied.
Very interesting question, and not one that's easy to answer relevantly. I've read some interesting ideas, but none of which can yet be proved and most of which can't be falsified.

Then there's the semantics of the thing. Obviously it happened somehow, but we like to give it a reference to our understanding of time and space which, you know, didn't exist until this universe did.
It doesn't matter. Its unknowable. Let say we could travel to the literal edge of the universe, and then somehow cross that edge into, I'm assuming is a void with no time or space, what then? We still don't know what this existence really is.Or to before the big bang... same scenario.
Now lets travel inward to the atomic level and beyond. Even if we got to the smallest particle- which I believe there isn't such a thing- what then?
All we can do is learn more and gain a greater understanding of how things work. The why is pointless along with God.
I do not believe at all; any belief seems completely irrational and useless to me. There are many possible explanations for existence, and a paternal creator that mirrors our own faults seems among the least plausible.
I am entertaining this notion of the big bang in that it puts everything into a new context...

THE PRINCIPLE OF MEDIOCRITY
by Alexander Vilenkin

According to the new picture, distant parts of the universe are in the state of explosive, accelerated expansion, called “inflation”. The expansion is so fast that in a tiny fraction of a second a region the size of an atom is blown to dimensions much greater than the entire currently observable universe. The expansion is caused by a peculiar form of matter, called “false vacuum”, which produces a strong repulsive force. The word “false” refers to the fact that, unlike the normal “true” vacuum, this type of vacuum is unstable and typically decays after a brief period of time, releasing a large amount of energy. The energy ignites a hot fireball of particles and radiation. This is what happened in our cosmic neighborhood 14 billion years ago – the event we refer to as the big bang.

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/vilenkin06/vilenkin06_index.html
I can't imagine any atheist taking a stance on the origins of the universe. It would be more entertaining to toss around hypotheticals.
I would take a stance if it was in opposition (great or small) with somebody's stance that required the existence of god(s) to make sense. Beyond that, we have no special expertise (usually) and just like thinking about big (or little) things.
Makes my head hurt!

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